Small Survivor: The birth of Khloe

Posted by Stephanie Campbell

stephcampbell

On June 20, 2009 my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday, I found out I was expecting again.  It was definitely a surprise, but we were all excited.  I called and made my first appointment, and was told I would have to wait 6 weeks to see a doctor for the first time.  That was ok by me, as the first several weeks not a lot happens anyways.   A few weeks later I started having some issues, and thought it would probably be a good idea to make an appointment sooner than originally planned.  I went in, had some tests done and my doctor said I needed to go to the hospital for an ultrasound.  That worried me, since nothing like that was necessary with my first pregnancy.  I went in, and was told to wait for my doctor to call with the results.  My doctor called and very bluntly said, “Your HCG levels are not progressing normally, you should prepare yourself for a miscarriage, there is nothing we can do this early on to prevent it.”

I was devastated. How do you prepare yourself to lose a life growing inside of you?  I took a week off work and lay in bed and waited.  Nothing happened and I called my doctor back and she scheduled another ultrasound for me.  I asked my mom and fiancé to go in with me this time, as I was prepared for bad news and I needed support.  The ultrasound technician started the ultrasound and said, “Everything looks great, you look to be about 8 weeks pregnant.”  I was shocked!  I asked, “So everything looks ok?”  And she said, “I can’t say much, but to me, yes.”  I immediately started crying, I had expected her to tell me the baby was gone.  My doctor called me later and told me everything looked great, and I was not miscarrying at that time.  Needless to say, I switched doctors.  I was so upset she would tell me I was miscarrying, when in fact that was not the case at all.

My pregnancy was a very rough one.  I was really sick, and threw up at least twice a day, sometimes as much as ten times, the entire pregnancy.  I was miserable and happy and excited at the same time.  At 20 weeks I found out I was having another girl!  My fiancé and daughter were just as excited as I was.  I was going to be lucky enough to have two daughters.

When I was about 29 weeks along, I woke up to take my daughter to school and just felt off.  I was throwing up all morning, and while that wasn’t unusual, I just didn’t feel right.  I ate a couple saltines, drank some water and went back to bed.  I woke back up around noon with horrible pains in my stomach.  Since I had gone through labor and contractions before, I knew this wasn’t labor, but I also knew that something was terribly wrong.  I called my fiancé and told him something was wrong, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t with the baby, but my actual stomach.  He rushed home, but by the time he made it the pain had grown intense.  I was on the floor crying in pain.  I could hardly walk to the car.  The car ride there was excruciating and I sobbed over every bump in the road.  We got to the hospital and they took me to labor and delivery.  They ran a ton of tests, gave me and ultrasound, and just could not figure out what was wrong with me.  They kept me overnight, ran some more tests, gave me some pain killers, and released me the next day.  I was puzzled as to how they could release me, without figuring out what was wrong, but they are the doctors and know what is best, at least that’s what I thought at the time.

I went home and slept the rest of the day and through the night, probably close to 24 hours.  I woke up the next morning screaming out in pain.  I had thought the pain two days before was bad, but this pain was much worse.  I called my fiancé and said I needed to go to the emergency room, and he rushed home, and drove me.  Again, every bump or turn in the road was horrendous and I screamed out in pain and sobbed the whole way there.  They rushed me to labor and delivery and tried to put in an I.V. immediately, to get some pain medicine right into me, but I hadn’t eaten and had barely drank anything in 3 days from being so sick, that it was like torture.

I screamed, and cried, and I remember looking up and seeing six doctors standing over me.  They gave me an ultrasound and said that they thought it was my appendix, but I needed an MRI to confirm, as it was hard to tell because when you are pregnant everything is pushed up and out of place to make room for the baby.  One doctor came over to me and took my hand and said “We have to send you in for an MRI.  The big problem with an MRI is that it can cause you to lose the baby.  There are no other options, because if you don’t go in we may lose both of you.”  I didn’t know what to do.  I was in so much pain it made it hard to have any thoughts in my head.  They rolled my bed out and off I went, possibly to lose my baby.  I remember every crack in the floor felt like a knife in my body, I had never felt pain like that.

The MRI went smoothly and they rolled me back to my room.  Not even 10 minutes later a doctor was there telling me my appendix had ruptured and I needed to go into surgery immediately to stop the poison from spreading further throughout my body.  They would try to save the baby.  I remember thinking “try?” as my last thought.  I woke up shaking violently and  I remember seeing the nurse and thinking to myself, “ I am dying.”, and I didn’t get to tell anyone I loved goodbye. I finally stopped shaking and when I could talk I said, “My baby?  Is my baby alive?  Is my baby still in me?  Where is my baby?”  The nurse said, “Everything went perfect, your baby is alive, well, and still inside you.”  I was so relieved, we had made it!

I had to stay in the hospital for almost two weeks, and recovery was hard and painful.  It isn’t easy trying to heal a huge scar on your stomach, while it is steadily growing with a baby in it.  It hurt, and it was a slow process.  They monitored my baby three times a day by ultrasound, and she was doing great.  The surgeon came and saw me often, and commented on how she looked great saying, “I should know, I saw her on the inside.”  After those two long weeks, I went home, but could still barely move around and was put on bed rest.  Not even three days after being released I was back in the hospital with contractions and given a shot to stop labor; I stayed overnight, and was released in the morning.  Six weeks went by and I was getting stronger and the baby was getting bigger inside me.

My baby shower was scheduled for January 17, 2010 at 1:00 p.m.  I was excited to see all my friends and have a fun day.  At 12:45 p.m., 15 minutes before my baby shower was to start my water broke.  I was worried as I was still five weeks early from my due date.  I called the doctor’s office and since I was supposed to have a C-section, they said I should come in soon, but not immediately.  I waited for my guests to arrive, opened gifts, and then off we went to the hospital.  Once we got there it was a whirlwind, getting ready for surgery, and next thing I knew I was being whisked off for surgery.  Everything went well, and then out came my baby!  She was so super tiny, and when I looked at her head, I saw it was gushing out blood.  They took her away, and my fiancé went with her and the doctor came over and told me, “I am so sorry, there was no water left in the placenta, and I accidently sliced her head open with a scalpel!”  I could not believe it!  After everything else my baby had been through, she was brought into the world and cut open!  I was so upset.  They stitched me up, rolled me back into my room, and brought me my baby.  She had to get seven stitches in her little tiny head, but fortunately that was all, they didn’t cut her deep enough for any permanent damage and she would heal fully.  She was a preemie, and was tiny, but she was healthy and strong.  We only stayed in the hospital for 2 weeks, and then we finally got to go home.

stephcambell2

When I look back at my baby’s first picture in the hospital, I see the story play out in my head, and all the feelings I felt at that time come rushing back.  I look at my baby and see a survivor.  I see a little tiny 5 lb. baby who had to endure so much, before she even came out into the world.  It was a long trying road, filled with so many unexpected obstacles, but we both made it through. My daughter is 3 and a half now and is a happy and healthy preschooler.  The scar on her head has healed and is covered by her curly hair.  She has no health issues from being a preemie, and is doing wonderful.  All my scars have healed as well, but I will forever carry her story of survival with me.

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